Band members Related acts
- Pete Bender - vocals, keyboards
- Michale Hauke - drums
- Rainer Marz - guitar, bass
- Curt Cress - drums
- Georg Robel -
- Peter "Wyoming" Bender
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Title: In Prison
Grade (cover/record): VG/VG
Comments: gatefold sleeve; French pressing with laminated cover intact
GEMM catalog ID: 4511
It's always interesting to find an artist who's better known in a foreign country than his native land. That's certainly the case for Peter "Wyoming" Bender.
Bender is what's known as an Army brat. Born into a military family he was actually born in France, but following his father's Army career, spent his childhood in such places as Alaska, California, North Carolina, New York, Washington and Germany. As a teenager living in Munich, Germany he started his first band, eventually earning spending money playing local parties and Army NCO clubs. By the mid-1960s Bender had developed a local reputation as an impressive guitarist and having graduated high school, became an in-demand sessions player, touring throughout Europe behind the likes of Alexis Korner and Tony Sheridan.
By the mid-1970s Bender was living in Berlin where he formed the band Wyoming with German musicians Rainer Marz (guitar), drummer Curt Cress and bassist Georg Robel. Signed by the German Bellaphon label, 1972's "In Prison" teamed Bender with producer Peter Hauke. I'll be honest and admit that the first time I spun this baby it didn't do a great deal for me, but with subsequent visits this has become a personal favorite. Musically the album's a strange, but interesting mix of conventional rock and occasional progressive moves. Bender's years in Europe left him with a distinctive German accent which adds to the LP's weirdness quotient. Be sure to check out tracks such as the bouncy opener 'USA Seventy-Two' which comes complete with a tuba solo and the rocker 'I'm a Roller' (the song sports a great guitar solo, but the way the way the word 'Roller' is pronounced ('Roooooooooler') is hysterical). Bender's credited with writing the majority of the material, which is exemplified by tracks such as the pretty ballad 'Known By All'', 'Restless Man Intro' and 'Sunshine Peacetime' is quite commercial, complete with nifty melodies and top-40-styled hooks. The notable exception is the ten minute plus opus 'Indian Wardance'. Bender's family tree apparently included American Indian blood and on this ten minute plus opus he pays tribute to those roots. It also serves as a precursor to some of his future musical directions. Elsewhere, congrats to Klaus Holitzka on designing one of the year's uglier album covers. As far as I know this LP never saw an American release.
"In Prison" track listing:
1.) USA Seventy-Two (Pete Bender) - 3:03
2.) Known By All (Jurgen Ermisch) - 3:20
3.) Restless Man Intro: (Pete Bender) - 1:18
4.) Sunshine Peacetime (Pete Bender) - 3:55
5.) I'm a Roller (Jurgen Ermisch) - 3:18
1.) I'll Be Back (Jurgen Ermisch) - 2:33
2.) This Is My Song (Holger Jung) - 2:18
3.) Indian Wardance (Pete Bender) - 10:10
4.) Looking Out (Pete Bender - Rainer Marz) - 3:37
I've never heard any of his post-Wyoming work, but he's enjoyed quite a few German hits (sung in German) and the 1990s found Bender tapping into his Comanchee roots for a series of new age world and American Indian-influenced collections. He's been nominated for a couple of Native American Music Awards and I've seen at least a couple of his CDs "Canyon Drums" and "Born To Be Indian" in airport gift shops.
Bender has a small German website with a semi-successful English translation capability:
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